Former VCSC comms chief now a district consultant

Oct. 1—Bill Riley, former Vigo County School Corp. director of communications, has continued to work for the school district as a consultant, with duties that include managing and updating the district website.

He resigned as a district employee at the end of last year, effective Jan. 3, but also began working with the district as a communications consultant with William C. Riley and Associates.

A letter of agreement states his retainer is $1,000 weekly and invoiced monthly. Riley, contacted Friday, said there is no end date to the agreement.

"I'm happy to serve the corporation as long as they need my services," he said.

A letter outlining his job duties states, "In order to provide the Vigo County School Corp. with essential and seamless communications and website support," William C. Riley and Associates will:

Manage/update website as directed; serve as website help desk for school-level website managers; route messages from website contact form to appropriate staff member; manage social media accounts as directed; manage Peachjar (the district flyer system for community organizations).

In addition, it calls for him to manage the COVID-19 dashboard as directed; provide document design and graphic design support for reports, social media, etc.; provide communications support for superintendent/administrative team as needed (presentations, writing, strategy); provide consultation on media inquiries as needed.

The letter also states a VCSC employee would be needed for media inquiries; as media spokesperson; to livestream board meetings; and prepare school cancellation alerts and school Messenger alerts when security issues arise.

Riley resigned from the school district and moved to another community after his wife accepted a job in higher education administration in another community.

Teresa Stuckey, who took on part of Riley's duties this summer, provided the following statement on behalf of the school corporation.

"The terms reference monthly invoicing, which the VCSC receives from Bill, and the board approves payment on a monthly basis as well. This engagement facilitates the VCSC's move from a full-time communications position model.

"We have been working with the technology department in transitioning more of these duties to internal positions, and modifications to the terms of the engagement will reflect these transitions."

In June, Stuckey was named director of elementary education, Title 1 and communications. She previously had been principal at Sugar Grove Elementary.

After Riley's departure, Katelynn Liebermann served as interim district spokesperson from January until Stuckey's appointment; those duties were in addition to her other responsibilities as an assistant curriculum coordinator.

Riley said that while his work with the media may have been the more visible part of his job when he was a VCSC employee, he also did much work that was less visible, including helping rebrand and redesign the website and manage it.

"That was a lot of work and essential because school districts are required to have certain things on their website," he said.

As a consultant, his main duties include managing and updating the website; serving as the website help desk; assisting schools with their individual microsites that were created with the redesign; and rerouting those who use the website contact form if they have questions or need to get in contact with someone.

He also manages Peachjar, the district flyer system for community organizations.

"I do a fair amount of document design for the district," using the new visual brand created when he was director of communications, he said.

The Vigo County School Corp. "keeps me busy," he said. He also assists Stuckey, in her new duties, as needed. "She's a great spokesperson, but also I think relies on some of my expertise to help."

While he's paid $1,000 per week, he receives no benefits. "I'm like any other vendor," he said. At the time he left the district, his salary was about $86,000, he said, plus benefits.

Riley said he's been spending much time in recent months working with the career and technical education (CTE) department to create a new web page focused on career pathways.

It will help students and parents understand dual credit opportunities and classes and what pathways and career clusters exist; the district hopes to launch it in the next few months.

Riley anticipates it would be linked off the district website and promoted.

Students and parents could study potential careers before they choose a certain pathway. "We're pretty excited about that," he said. "It's a big effort. I think it will create great value for the district and promote that they are a leader in career pathways."

School Board president Stacy Killion said board members had discussed the professional services agreement at an executive session.

"It was discussed as far as that he would be used as a vendor, as we do several other vendors where they have a contract," she said. Vendors send invoices to accounts payable in the office of the chief financial officer.

The school board finance committee reviews accounts payable dockets, which are then approved by the full school board at regular meetings.

"He has been on a couple of the accounts payable dockets," Killion said.

Sue Loughlin can be reached at 812-231-4235 or at Follow Sue on Twitter @TribStarSue